BWW Review: BAD AUDITIONS- a Don't Miss at the KC Fringe Festival
Bad Auditions, conceived and curated by Kevin King and produced by Whim Productions is playing at the Fishtank Performance Studio in Kansas City. The Kansas City Fringe Festival is bringing over 100 performances to the Kansas City area through July 27. Fortunately, for Kansas City the uproarious Bad Auditions is one of those performances.
King conceived the idea for the one-hour show while conducting auditions for his Whim Production Companies presentation of Flowers in the Wardrobe. He stated he began asking the actors about auditions they had been on and it grew into the hilarious production that appears at the Fringe Festival.
King takes the opportunity to appear on stage as himself, the director running the auditions and trying to find some semblance of normality in the chaos. He later told me this had been his first experience acting, though I would not have known if he had not said this because he was so natural in his delivery.
The fun begins as the doors open and the audience pours through to find seats in the small intimate theater. Several actors are on stage nervously pacing, lying on the floor, doing vocal warm-ups (or screaming in pain, not sure which), and running out of the room with a hand over their stomach. It is easy to imagine that this is the norm. A room full of actors trying to deal with the stress they put upon themselves.
Once King enters the stage, he sends the actors to the hallway, bringing them back one at a time to audition for an upcoming show. On Saturday, Ben Auxier and Brian Huther were the first to appear and try to gain a spot in the production. They explain to King they must be hired together, as one does not work without the other.
Stefanie Stevens, the young woman with the stomach ailment, quickly follows on stage, but before she can do her monologue, she rushes off stage again clutching her stomach. Watch out for Stevens this is not the last we have seen of her humorous antics. Alisa Lynn, a young woman attending her first audition, is next on stage. She comes on overly perky, like a young person without a care in the world. This persona could be rather annoying if she was not so funny.
Tara Varney comes to the stage as a distraught actor trying to get a part in the show. When asked what was bothering her she goes into one of the funniest bits of the night about her . . . you will have to see the show to know the rest. After the show, Varney told me that the actual actors can change from performance to performance and that the players are never sure of what will happen on stage. As an example, King asked on Saturday to demonstrate her ability to imitate a monkey. Her impromptu performance of the ape was hilarious and she stated before he had never asked her to be the monkey.
Matt Sweeten rounds out the actors auditioning for the show. Sweeten put on a performance that is as good as any comedy routine I have ever seen. The theater erupts with laughter from the moment he walked on stage through the end of his audition.
This show is one that is worth seeing more than once. Check the Kansas City Fringe Festival calendar for future showings of Bad Auditions. Photograph courtesy of Whim Productions.
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